Rodents, not birds, dominate predation-related ecosystem services and disservices in vertebrate communities of agricultural landscapes

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T1 - Rodents, not birds, dominate predation-related ecosystem services and disservices in vertebrate communities of agricultural landscapes

AU - Tschumi, Matthias

AU - Ekroos, Johan

AU - Hjort, Cecilia

AU - Smith, Henrik G.

AU - Birkhofer, Klaus

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - To understand the relationship between conservation measures and agricultural yields, we need to know the contributions of organisms to both ecosystem services and disservices. We studied the activity and contribution of birds and mammals to intermediate ecosystem services (predation of weed seeds or invertebrate pests) and disservices (predation of crop seeds or beneficial invertebrates) in southern Sweden between June and November 2016. We measured seed and invertebrate predation rates using trays placed in front of 32 wildlife cameras in 16 cereal fields with a local habitat contrast (8 fields adjacent to another crop field and 8 fields adjacent to a semi-natural grassland) and along a landscape heterogeneity gradient (amount of semi-natural grassland). Both activity and predation were dominated by small mammals (mainly rodents), yet only a few species contributed to predation services and disservices according to camera records. Small mammal activity and predation varied considerably over time. Small mammal activity was significantly higher at trays with crop seeds or beneficial invertebrate prey compared to trays with pest prey, and crop seed predation by small mammals was significantly higher than weed seed predation. In contrast, bird activity and predation did not differ significantly between resource types, but varied over time depending on the habitat contrast. Predation of animal prey by birds was highest after cereal harvest, independent of habitat contrast. Our study highlights that birds and in particular rodents provide important intermediate ecosystem services, but also disservices, which fluctuate strongly in intensity over time.

AB - To understand the relationship between conservation measures and agricultural yields, we need to know the contributions of organisms to both ecosystem services and disservices. We studied the activity and contribution of birds and mammals to intermediate ecosystem services (predation of weed seeds or invertebrate pests) and disservices (predation of crop seeds or beneficial invertebrates) in southern Sweden between June and November 2016. We measured seed and invertebrate predation rates using trays placed in front of 32 wildlife cameras in 16 cereal fields with a local habitat contrast (8 fields adjacent to another crop field and 8 fields adjacent to a semi-natural grassland) and along a landscape heterogeneity gradient (amount of semi-natural grassland). Both activity and predation were dominated by small mammals (mainly rodents), yet only a few species contributed to predation services and disservices according to camera records. Small mammal activity and predation varied considerably over time. Small mammal activity was significantly higher at trays with crop seeds or beneficial invertebrate prey compared to trays with pest prey, and crop seed predation by small mammals was significantly higher than weed seed predation. In contrast, bird activity and predation did not differ significantly between resource types, but varied over time depending on the habitat contrast. Predation of animal prey by birds was highest after cereal harvest, independent of habitat contrast. Our study highlights that birds and in particular rodents provide important intermediate ecosystem services, but also disservices, which fluctuate strongly in intensity over time.

KW - Biological control

KW - Predators

KW - Semi-natural grasslands

KW - Weed control

KW - Wildlife cameras

U2 - 10.1007/s00442-018-4242-z

DO - 10.1007/s00442-018-4242-z

M3 - Article

VL - 188

SP - 863

EP - 873

JO - Oecologia

JF - Oecologia

SN - 0029-8519

IS - 3

ER -